UFT President Michael Mulgrew offered what appeared to be a tepid endorsement of the teacher evaluation system that State Education Commissioner John King imposed today, while Mulgrew’s counterpart at the principals union was more favorable about the new plan for rating his members.
Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Superintendents, said in a statement that his union had actually reached a deal on evaluations with the city Department of Education late Friday, “with the strong intervention of Commissioner King.” He said the deal resembled what had almost been finalized back in January, when the city’s negotiations with the teachers union fell apart just before a state deadline.
Logan praised the new evaluation system, saying that it “preserves many of the same tools our principals are accustomed to while at the same time substantially improving our due process protections and safeguards.” It also provides for helping principals improve, which the old system did not do, he said.
Mulgrew’s reaction was more circumspect. In a statement posted to the UFT’s website shortly after King released details of the plan, Mulgrew expressed satisfaction that teachers will be allowed to challenge the evaluations process before they receive their ratings and that teachers will have an equal say with their administrators in recommending which tools are used to measure student growth.
“New York City teachers will now have additional protections and opportunities to play a larger role in the development of the measures used to rate them,” he said. “Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s desire for a ‘gotcha’ system, as Commissioner King noted today, New York City ‘is not going to fire its way to academic success.'”
But he also signaled that the union has a speedy timeline for seeking revisions to the plan. King announced that the plan would be in effect through the 2016-2017 school year. But Mulgrew said the specifics would remain in effect “unless and until they are altered in collective bargaining with the new mayor who takes office in seven months.”
The evaluation system that King imposed includes some wins for the UFT and some clear losses. Principals will have to consider all 22 components of the Danielson Framework for assessing classroom instruction, which the union wanted. But starting in the 2014-2015 school year, student surveys will count for 5 percent of ratings for almost all teachers — something that the union had vehemently opposed.
The full statements are below. From UFT President Michael Mulgrew:
New York City teachers will now have additional protections and opportunities to play a larger role in the development of the measures used to rate them. Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s desire for a gotcha system, as Commissioner King noted today, New York City is not going to fire its way to academic success. The precise measures of student learning established by this ruling will be in effect unless and until they are altered in collective bargaining with the new Mayor who takes office in seven months. As the UFT requested, there will now be additional arbitration slots that will allow teachers to challenge any violations by supervisors of the new evaluation process before they reach the stage of actual ratings. The state has also ruled that teachers will be evaluated on all aspects of the Danielson framework, as the UFT had proposed, in opposition to the DOE’s insistence that fewer measures be used. In individual schools, teachers will have an equal say with administrators on the committee that will recommend the instruments that each school will use. Despite the Mayor’s claims to the contrary, the major components of the new statewide system – such as the four categories of Highly Effective, Effective, Developing and Ineffective – are part of the statute or are regulations; as such, have never been subject to sunset; they can be changed by the Legislature or the Commissioner.
And from CSA President Ernest Logan:
After a full day of arbitration yesterday, CSA and DOE reached an agreement on an APPR Plan for Principals. This deal was reached late last night with the strong intervention of Commissioner King, and finalizes the agreement we were on the verge of signing in January. We are pleased to report that our agreement is consistent and reliable as it preserves many of the same tools our Principals are accustomed to while at the same time substantially improving our due process protections and safeguards. For the first time, we’ve negotiated a true yearlong improvement plan for any Principal rated developing or ineffective with regular cycles of feedback from superintendents. Additionally, we negotiated a strong appeals process, including the step of an independent hearing officer. Our rating scales will continue to yield the differentiated results that our Principal Performance Review has had in the past. We look forward to the implementation of this agreement and will have more details this week.